If you're a graduate looking to get into sales and need to get a feel for the kind of questions employers might ask at interview, then make sure you research these graduate sales interview questions below. These questions and answers are taken from real graduate interviews, and compiled to give you an idea of what to expect and how to prepare your answers.
Example Sales Interview Questions:
Why do you want to do sales and what makes you think you will be successful?
One of the key elements an employer will look for is for someone who is money motivated so make sure they know, in an un-arrogant manner, that your work ethic is financially driven. In terms of personality they will be looking for someone who is very confident and direct who likes to be in a busy, energetic environment - make sure you get this across to your interviewer. They will be looking for someone who has always lead the way among their peers, a natural leader that people listen to as well as very sociable.
Entrepreneurial people are also often sought after in sales as you have to be able to use your own initiative. If you've had previous experience, relate your answer to your love of the buzz, vibrant work atmosphere and competitive nature of the workplace.
Give me an example of when you have worked to a target?
With this question its best to give something that's non academic as that's the immediate thing that every graduate would think of. Work experience or something social at university would be best to refer to and try and think of a time when you exceeded expectation, not just met what was required. Examples could be in sport such as a target you set to be picked for a certain position or even for captain. Maybe it was to run for a certain post in a society with a plan to be promoted each year that you kept to. Remember, your interviewer will only look to dig deeper so try to cover as much detail as possible by being very specific, especially if it's a financial example as this will really impress. Assess yourself as to whether it was difficult to achieve - were you the best in comparison to other people? If so, let them know!
Give an example of a) when you've influenced someone to your way of thinking and b) a time you faced adversity and how you dealt with it?
Double jointed questions like this can often be pitched to test your composure and accuracy under pressure. Take a quick moment to mentally break it down and think about how you will finish as well as how to start. Your influence could range from a discussion within a group of peers to something in a business context like getting your boss to listen to ideas that they weren't keen on before. Perhaps you changed the perception of a sports team you play in or class you discussed or debated in. The interviewer will be looking for you to approach the problem using a direct, tactful and verbal influence. Any interaction and involvement of other people when discussing will also be noted as a positive. A time when you've faced adversity could be a moment in your personal life or difficulties you have faced in previous employment. Perhaps you've made tough decisions in a crisis or come across a task that was challenging which you still managed to work on through. How it affected you and how you dealt with it are key points here.
What is B2B sales?
If asked this question during an interview, talk through the different types of sales, and discuss what you personally would enjoy about persuading and negotiating with senior decision-makers in a professional business setting.
B2B sales means ‘business-to-business’ as opposed to B2C or ‘business-to-consumer’. For example, all of the sales roles that GRB recruit for are B2B, where you would be selling a product or service (normally the latter) to executive decision-makers in other professional firms. B2B sales roles offer greater scope for learning in a niche sector, tend to be more professional, and will also pay better salaries and commission. B2B sales roles can exist in many industries such as technology, finance, fmcg, media, digital, publishing, manufacturing and sciences.
Why are you interested in a sales career?
If you are going for an interview for a sales role, this will usually be the first thing that an interviewer will want to find out, particularly if they are a sales manager/director and directly responsible for hiring. Sales jobs can be tough, so managers will want assurances that you are committed to building a sales career, rather than just looking for any job offer.
It would be good to answer this question with a personal approach, whilst obviously mentioning the key drivers behind any successful sales person: commission, targets and meritocracy. Be careful not to sound too scripted when delivering your answer to this inevitable question. The interviewer could well be your future colleague and they will want to understand your true motivations.
How do you feel about making sales calls?
When answering this question, be sure to assert your natural networking abilities, confidence and eagerness to pick up the phone. If you are enthusiastic and determined to begin a successful career in sales, you must feel comfortable and confident to make telephone approaches. The telephone approach is the root of a vast majority of fruitful client relationships, as it is an easy and cost effective way for companies to spread their messages to their targeted client base. “Cold-calling” often reminds people of nuisance calls selling you insurance, PPI or charity fundraising – this is B2C sales. These roles tend to be more focused on scripted volume-based selling to individuals, and are rarely of a graduate level. Business approaches, on the other hand, are networking calls allowing you to pitch your company’s product or service.
Why do you think you will be successful in sales?
For this answer, consider using the STAR technique to highlight the key competencies of a successful person, and why you fit these descriptions. Whether you believe your best attributes to be tenacity, resilience, persistence, or money motivation, back up your reasons with evidence from your past experiences, such as professional work, extra-curricular or academics.
How do you move on from rejection?
This is a great question for you to be able to reiterate your resilient personality, a must-have for any future sales superstar. If any examples spring to mind where you have overcome rejection or knock-backs in the past, talk these through using the STAR technique. Maybe you failed your driving test, but kept learning? Didn’t get the promotion you were hoping for in a part-time job, but exceeded your targets anyway? Whatever it might be, focus on the skills you gained from getting back on the horse, and why you will be more than happy to do this again in the future.